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Saturday, June 8, 2019


(Keshan Chetty)

Every adventure features a villain with an often not-so-handy assistant. In Kings of Mulberry Street that guy is ‘Size’ played by Keshan Chetty.

A bad guy isn’t a bad guy without a sidekick. In Judy Naidoo’s new film Kings of Mulberry Street, a raucous Bollywood-style tale of two young Indian boys growing up in the 80s in Sugarhill District, KZN, the villain is local crime boss Raja (Neville Pillay), and his trusty sidekick is Size, played by Keshan Chetty.

The clumsy, larger-than-life Size is the comic foil to Raja’s wickedness – loyal and dependable, if somewhat slow. He is an ape of a man, physically very strong, with limited language skills. Although he is not the sharpest tool in the shed, he’s certainly effective as Raja’s muscle.

“I wanted to showcase a world that has not been featured in local cinema before and communities that have not been represented on the big screen,” says Naidoo. “What better place than where I come from? The characters of Raja and Size are inspired by some of the shadier people who operated in locations in Verulam and Tongaat, which together make up the fictional town of Sugarhill District.

“The best part of watching a film as a young kid was to see how the bad guys get their comeuppance.  The films that did this well, had me in stitches. It was such a satisfying experience and that is exactly what I wanted to achieve with our villains Raja and Size. Villains who are so good at being bad that they provide great fuel for comedy”.

A handy assistant when the job calls for it, Size isn’t always as street-smart as Raja might want him to be. Like any apprentice, he’s got a lot to learn – after all, that’s why he’s not the man in charge.

Sometimes, in fact, he can be more of a hindrance than a help. It’s a role that Keshan Chetty takes on with aplomb. He began his acting career while studying at film school AFDA in 2013, featuring in minor and supporting roles for student productions.

After his studies, Keshan began working for video production company iTen Entertainment, where he featured in numerous corporate and viral brand and product videos, playing a variety of characters. His work has had more than a million views combined across all social media platforms.

In Kings of Mulberry Street, a vibrant and hilarious film that brings together the rich and colourful world of the Indian community in the 80s as well as Bollywood cinema and songs from that era, the nine-year-old boys Ticky and Baboo have to find a way to overcome their differences and unite, if they are going to defeat the bullying and corrupt Raja, who is threatening their families, and their community.

It’s a marvellous tale of bravery and daring, with universal themes that will appeal to the whole family, and to all South African communities.

Kings of Mulberry Street will be distributed in South Africa by Indigenous film Distribution. It will be released in cinemas on June 28, 2019.